Small Joys From James Broughton

Nov 02 - Nov 03, 2013

A poet, author and filmmaker, James Broughton (christened the "great and wise master of the American avant-garde" by critic Amos Vogel) attempted to use cinema as a poetic statement. He took as his subject matter love, sex, the human body and dream imagery, rendered with a playful, whimsical and sometimes erotic touch. These two evenings of programs feature a selection of some of Broughton’s best short work. 


The Bed
(James Broughton, USA, 1968, 16mm, 20 min)
"One of the most lyrically erotic of independent films, The Bed is a merry allegory which celebrates impudently and imaginatively just about everything that could happen in bed (and some things that couldn't) - birth, young love, loneliness, dreams and death, amid all sorts of hanky-panky from fetishism to plain old lechery." —LA Free Press

"Broughton's finest film by far. It exists in a state of play fully realized." —Stan Brakhage 

Mother's Day
(James Broughton, USA, 1948, 16mm, 15 min)

One of the first major works of the San Francisco film movement, Mother's Day is a painfully humorous recollection of childhood, in which a family of singular adults recreate their infancy by behaving as they did when growing up. 

"Mothers Day for me is one of the great films in film history." —Peter Kubelka

(James Broughton, USA,  1972, 16mm, 45 min)
"Dreamwood is James Broughton's major work to date. It is a modern day spiritual odyssey in which a man is mysteriously compelled to leave his home and embark on a voyage to a strange and magical island. On the island he faces the most improbable and intense experiences of his life, ranging from total humiliation to a deep sense of oneness with the forces of life. Heroic in concept, subtle in execution, Dreamwood is a beautiful film by a true master of the medium." —David Bienstock 

"No single film in the whole of the American avant-garde comes as close as this one to the source of the trance film, Cocteau's Blood of a Poet." —P. Adams Sitney 


The Pleasure Garden
(James Broughton, USA,  1953, 16mm, 38 min)
A joyous musical fantasy celebrating Love in the Park and the victory of the pleasure principle over all prudes and killjoys. The Pleasure Garden was made in London with a professional cast and shot in the ruined gardens of the Crystal Palace.

"It's on the side of the angels. It's a great testimony for Love." —Allen Ginsberg 

The Golden Positions
(James Broughton, 1970, USA,  16mm, 32 min)
"The Golden Positions is a rich, warm, clear statement of humanism. There is no angst, no fragmentation, no overt experimentation. It stands apart from most of the films of the past two decades by its feeling of certainty, positiveness, and completeness. And, most importantly, The Golden Positions gives us a deep and restful pleasure in the viewing." —Sheldon Renan

The Gardener of Eden 
(James Broughton, USA, 1981, 16mm, 8.5 min)
Filmed on the paradise island of Sri Lanka, this intensely poetic work celebrates the eternal dance of nature's sexuality, and sings of the lost Eden we all search for but do not expect to find.  In the midst of his fertile garden, while he awaits Adam's return, God tries to keep his eye on all the flowering exuberance he has seeded. The film is written and narrated by James Broughton, and photographed by Joel Singer. The music is performed on twin conch shells, and the central actor is (in real life) the most famous horticulturalist in Ceylon.

"An ecstatic masterpiece!" —Stan Brakhage

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